'The smile is back' - Jurgen Klopp praises resurgent Luis Diaz

Jurgen Klopp has explained that "the smile is back" for Luis Diaz as the Liverpool manager discussed the winger's improved form in recent weeks.

It's been an incredibly tough season for Luis Diaz on and off the pitch.

The Colombian has not been at his influential best for the Reds this term, but that's hardly surprising given his parents were kidnapped by a guerilla group towards the end of last year.

Such a harrowing experience would prove traumatic for anyone, with Diaz's form having understandably taken a dip over the past few months.

It's also true that his progress in a Liverpool shirt has been significantly hampered by a long-term injury he suffered at the beginning of last season.

However, Diaz has been in much better form recently, providing an assist against Burnley on Boxing Day, an electric performance against Newcastle United on New Year's Day and a brilliant strike against Arsenal in the FA Cup third round.

Speaking prior to Liverpool's trip to Bournemouth in the Premier League this Sunday, Klopp admitted that Diaz is "back" after a difficult period for the 27-year-old.

"You might all have forgotten but, in the past, [we had] maybe the best front three this club had in a long, long time," said Klopp.

"Sadio Mane, Bobby Firmino and Mo Salah - how often we were sitting here discussing about a little crisis, a little dip in form and stuff like this?

"We discussed it but it never really had that massive impact. So, in these times, we let them just be. If Lucho is not playing great I don’t have to tell him ‘By the way, Lucho that was not great’. He knows that before I know it.

"It’s just about trust and faith and time. There was no doubt about [it], that he will be back, definitely. Yes, that for us is very important, absolutely, but that’s how it is."

He added: "He’s back, that’s good and pretty helpful. You can see it in each training session, it’s different.

"I spoke here when he came here, and I never saw something like that: he cannot not smile when he is on the ball. It was in the beginning like that and there were a few weeks when I missed that a little bit, but the smile is back, so that’s really good."

Diaz has still provided six goals and two assists in all competitions this season despite his off-field troubles, but the South American will be hopeful of significantly adding to that tally before the end of the campaign.

With Mohamed Salah currently away on international duty, and having picked up a hamstring injury at the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt, Liverpool's No. 7 will be more important than ever to the Reds as they bid for a second Premier League title and cup glory.

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